Henry Levin, Ph.D.
This lab studies mechanisms of virus replication related to reverse transcription and integration. The molecular details of these processes are examined using LTR-retrotransposons as models for the replication of retroviruses. LTR-retrotransposons are important models because of their similarities to retroviruses and because they propagate in model organisms, like yeast, with powerful tools available for genetic analysis. The subject of the research is Tf1, an active LTR-retrotransposon of the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Currently, the lab is studying the molecular mechanisms of integration using techniques of biochemistry and genetics. Of particular interest is the mechanism of target site selection. Over 90% of Tf1 insertions occur in pol II promoters. This process is under active investigation.